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  1. #1
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    Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    Curious to hear opinions here.

    Does Google consider 'sponsored listings' or 'paid listings' as a citation? Are they treated differently, less trusted, more trusted, ignored?

    Here are a few examples of the types of 'sponsored' or 'paid' results I'm talking about.

    YP.com
    Name:  Philadelphia-Pizza--Pizza-in-Philadelphia--PA---YPcom---Google-Chrome.png
Views: 581
Size:  271.5 KB

    Whitepages.com
    Name:  Find-Pizza-in-Philadelphia--PA---Google-Chrome.jpg
Views: 455
Size:  84.6 KB

    Google Results for Query "Pizza Philadelphia PA"
    Name:  pizza-philadelphia-pa---Google-Search---Google-Chrome.png
Views: 432
Size:  43.2 KB
    Last edited by Linda Buquet; 01-25-2013 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Moved to Citations Forum. Trying to keep organized to make topics easier to find.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    Short answer - Yes.

    Look at where those paid listings came from - YP, whitepages, google+ Local. Even if you pay to be a "premium listing" on a directory site, you're still getting your NAP info out there. Whether there is good ROI from your investment is another question entirely. Personally I don't see the value in a YP paid listing, since the cost per month is potentially much higher than any revenue you would actually gain... but that's a discussion for another thread.
    Last edited by Linda Buquet; 01-25-2013 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Moved to Citations Forum. Trying to keep organized to make topics easier to find.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    Thanks for posting a great question localsearchguy!

    The answer is probably no one but Google knows with absolute certainty.

    BUT I would think as long as the NAP data is there, she'd count it as a citation.
    So I'm with Eric on this.

    What do you guys think?
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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  4. #4
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    I think it definitely counts.

    If you look at the paid distribution model on sites like citysearch, they'll seed your listing to their partner network (250+ IYPs). I confirmed this with them - once you stop paying for the ads, your listings will remain.

    Sounds like a simple and cheap way to build a lot of citations

  5. #5
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    My thoughts are NAP = NAP so it would be hard to "descriminate" just because it is paid. But as stated previously only Google really knows.

  6. #6
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Dodge View Post
    If you look at the paid distribution model on sites like citysearch, they'll seed your listing to their partner network (250+ IYPs). I confirmed this with them - once you stop paying for the ads, your listings will remain.

    Sounds like a simple and cheap way to build a lot of citations
    Hot tip alert!!! Thanks Scott.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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  7. #7
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    If it contains the NAP then in my book it is a citation and counted. But for me I don't think the ROI is worth it. At least not with the businesses I have worked on.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    Ya those paid citations would need to be pulling in new leads for the ROI to work.

    If you are just doing it to build citations for Google would not be worth it IMO.

    Since most money KWs pull blended and since increasing citations does not usually boost ranking since IMO blended ranking is 90% organic ranking factors. Maybe would be worth it for a brand new business with no citations as a way to get them out there quickly. But for a mature business that already has a good base of citations getting more does not necessarily move the needle in blended I don't think.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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  9. #9
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    @localsearchguy

    Fantastic question.

    I'm thinking this may really be two separate questions: (1) whether ADS (a la YP) count as citations, and (2) whether paid-inclusion or pay-to-upgrade listings count as citations.

    I agree with everyone here in saying that the first probably count as citations - that there's no way to know for sure, but probably.

    But the second group definitely counts as citations. One Local Citation Finder scan will tell you that, as will just Googling a phone number. Many industry-specific and city-specific directories offer pay-to-play listings. They're not ads as such, because in most cases on these sites there's no distinction between the free, "open" directory listings and the paid ones: if you want to be listed on the site, you've got to pay.

    As everyone here has said (with whom I agree), this begs the question: are these paid-listing sites worth it? I'd say it just depends (surprise, surprise). In really competitive markets where it is TOUGH to get into the local top-7 but very profitable to do say, you may need to do everything you can to pull ahead. Especially if you find that most of your top-ranking competitors seem to be listed on this one paid-directory site, you may want to think hard about it.

    So generally the stone I'd turn over in terms of "paid" citations isn't YP-style ads (too damn expensive), but rather industry- or city-specific directories that don't cost an arm and a leg and your soul, but that seem to pop up again and again in the citations profiles of any competitors that rank above you.

  10. #10
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    Re: Is a Paid Listing a Citation?

    I'm voting for paid citations not counting, or at least not counting as much as organic. Paid Local Listings As Citations?

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